The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of School Planning & Management magazine.

Ensuring Young are Ready to Learn Tops States' Education Concerns for 2015

LEXINGTON, Ky.--Making sure all of a state's youngest students enter school ready to learn will be one of the top education concerns for state policymakers during the new legislative session.

"In 2015 state policymakers will look to target practices that ensure students enter school ready to learn and are engaged in an environment with high expectations for success for all students," said Pam Goins, director of education policy for The Council of State Governments. "Flexibility in instructional strategies, continuous assessment and accountability are vital to achievement and preparation for college and careers. State policy must set the foundation for these innovations to occur."

Being ready to learn, however, is not a simple target. To make the most of their time in the classroom, children should have mastered developmentally appropriate levels of language, literacy, motor skills, socialization, and scientific and mathematical thinking. As states look to measure and adequately prepare students for school, they will be looking at policies and practices that can be put in place for effective child care, Head Start and pre-kindergarten programs that promote high quality and efficient early learning programs for all children.

Goins said other issues will vie for a legislator's attention this year as they try to improve their state's economic future by ensuring workers have the skills required by local industries and businesses for growth. Those issues include ensuring students have the opportunity to explore experiential and work-based learning, creating effective strategies to help students at risk of failure, ensuring more students get a postsecondary degree or credential and creating an accountability system that accurately measures how well a state's schools and teachers are educating youth.

The Council of State Governments this week released its annual listing of top 5 issues legislators will face this year in education, energy and the environment, federal affairs, fiscal and economic development, health, international affairs, interstate compacts, transportation and workforce development.

Learn more about the Top 5 issues in education. For more information about these or any other topics, visit the CSG Knowledge Center.

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